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22 March 2020

Swinton Lions sealed a late victory over Oldham in the first virtual meeting between the two clubs.

Swinton Lions 36-34 Oldham RLFC

Harry Dunnett reporting from a virtual AJ Bell Stadium

Swinton Lions displayed an extraordinary comeback as they fought back time and time again to beat Oldham in the clubs first ever virtual game. 

Swinton found themselves 16-0 down after a horrid start but somehow clawed themselves back into the game.

They continued to leak tries but showed real spirit to respond quickly with a try of their own every time they did and ultimately late on, they were able to score two quick fire tries to give themselves the lead for the first time. In the closing stages they held firm to narrowly beat Oldham RLFC 36-34 in this virtual game.

In the opening exchanges of the game, Dan Abram caught a kick down field by Swinton and ran the distance of the pitch to score the opening try of the match. He then converted his own try to give Oldham an early 6-0 lead. 

Oldham went on to double their advantage with another converted try in the 11th minute as the virtual visitors got off to a flying start.

It got even worse for Swinton just two minutes later as Lee Kershaw went over, but the conversion was missed by Abram, the games only unsuccessful goal attempt. 

However, the Lions responded well and with the third try in four minutes, Swinton forced their way under the posts to score. Jack Hansen successfully converted to add an extra two points and start the Swinton revival. 

Jose Kenga then brought Swinton even closer to completing an unlikely comeback as he forced his way to score a try.

Although, Oldham found themselves back in the driver’s seat in the 28th minute as Ben Davies was played through by a short kick and he added a fourth try for Oldham. Abram was subsequently successful with his conversion to make the score 22-12 in Oldham’s favour. 

Swinton were able to set up a big second half as Mike Butt caught a precision kick to easily convert. Hansen made it three from three with his boot to make the score 22-18 going into the break. 

The second period was much cagier and far less free flowing half as neither side wanted to lose out to their arch rivals. The first 20 minutes of the second half were a complete stalemate as neither side could make the ultimate breakthrough. 

The game returned to life minutes later as first Oldham added to their advantage with a well worked try finished off by Danny Bridge and Abram converted with ease. 

Swinton then once again narrowed the deficit as a brilliant dummy from Mike Butt took him past the last defender to score. 

It appeared to be in vain though as minutes later, a patient Oldham move was finished off by Abram as he towered over to catch a high kick and force his way over the line. He once again converted his own try to make the score 34-24 to Oldham.  

Swinton weren’t giving up easily in this one though and they came back yet again a minute later as Gavin Bennion scored after crashing into Luke Waterworth’s pass just meters out. 

Jack Hansen continued his 100% kicking game to make the score 34-30 to Oldham with 10 minutes to play. 

Then for the first time in the game, Swinton found themselves ahead, a fantastic team try was rounded off by hat-trick hero Mike Butt. Jack Hansen had the simplest of tasks to kick directly in front of the posts to give Swinton a 36-34 lead with four minutes to play. 

Swinton held strong, defended their lead with pride to win a breathing encounter and a real advert for virtual sport.



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